Google’s free Gmail service is all kinds of awesome, and it’s generally
pretty darn reliable. But like any Web-based service, Gmail can go
down. These rare events are cause for amusement at Mac|Life
HQ--seriously, have you seen how Twitter freaks out when Gmail is down?
You’d think the sun and moon had collided or George Lucas had announced
a Broadway musical about the political career of Jar Jar Binks.
if you depend on Gmail for all your über-essential email, it stinks to
be kept out of your account even temporarily. Luckily, backing up Gmail
is pretty easy and won’t cost you a dime. Ready? We’ll use Mail to
store the messages and a combination of Automator and iCal to retrieve
them so you don’t even have to open Mail periodically and fetch the
I’ve always used Mail’s POP3 settings to manage my Gmail account,
and I’ve been able to remain a one-account guy. But the university
where I work wants me to use their servers for my work email. Mail
successfully synced up with the provided IMAP Account; however, I now
find my main inbox doing double duty. During a busy day, it becomes
difficult to separate messages at a glance. I can click on the message
and check the recipient, or click on the mailbox and do the
subtraction, but both of those are cumbersome. Worst of all, I also
find myself occasionally replying to messages using the wrong account.
Apple Mail gets the job done, but there are a few crucial features missing. Rules can sort messages as they arrive, but Mail doesn’t offer much to help you organize messages after the fact. Indev Software’s Mail Act-On is a hugely useful Mail plug-in to do just that and much more.
Create a rule in Mail to automatically assign background colors to incoming messages.
I just switched from Entourage to Mail, and I can’t figure out how to use colors to highlight the email messages that I receive, as I could in Entourage by selecting a category (e.g., friends are purple, family is green, and so on).
To manually apply a background color to an email, click the message in your viewer window, choose Format > Show Colors to bring up the color picker, and select the one that you want. If you find yourself using the same colors repeatedly, you can “bookmark” a color in the color picker by dragging the large rectangle that represents your color onto one of the small boxes that appears below. Unlike in Entourage, your background colors only appear within the ist of messages, and not in the actual window of the message itself.
To automatically apply a background color to incoming emails, you can set up a rule in Mail to color email messages if they’re from a certain person or Address Book group. Let’s say that you’ve already created a group in your Address Book called Family and dragged all of your family contacts into that group. Now you want any incoming messages from those contacts to be highlighted green. Select Mail > Preferences, click the Rules button, and choose Add Rule. Give the rule a description, select the condition “Sender is member of Group,” and then choose the group Family. Underneath “Perform the following actions,” choose “Set Color” and “of background” from the drop-downs, and select the color you’d like.